London Taxi Company opens UK's first dedicated plug-in vehicle manufacturing plant near Coventry
Thu 23 March 2017 | Back to news list
The London Taxi Company has officially opened the UK's first manufacturing facility at Ansty near Coventry dedicated to electric vehicle production. Expected to create 1,000 jobs, it is the first all new vehicle manufacturing facility to be built in Britain for more than a decade and represents the first major Chinese investment of its kind in UK automotive from LTC's parent company Geely.
The new, state-of-the-art, vehicle plant in Ansty, will produce the world’s first purpose-built, mass-market TX5 electric taxi and will also be a new R&D light-weighting and EV centre for Geely and Britain.
When at full capacity the plant is expected to be able to build more than 20,000 vehicles a year. The taxi vehicle is using proven Volvo Car electric powertrain system technologies and components comprising a new EV light weight platform, while retaining the iconic design heritage recognized around the world. The program will also enable LTC to deliver what it says will be world-leading urban commercial vehicles and further derivatives of this new EV architecture will follow.
The company says it can bring the new van to market through an incremental additional investment of around £30 million, taking the total investment from parent company Geely to £325 million.
The government is spending £80m to support the project, which will go towards R&D at the site, help fund the installation of electric charging stations, and incentivise taxi drivers to buy the new, cleaner vehicles.
From January 2018 all black cabs sold in the UK must be able to drive using electric technology, as part of efforts to improve the air quality of major British cities, especially London.
Speaking at the launch event, Greg Clark, the Business Secretary said: “Our iconic black cabs are famous across the world. The London Taxi Company’s impressive new factory and R&D facility showcases the innovation that makes the UK a world leader in the development of new automotive technologies.
"The government is committed to improving the country’s air quality and creating a low carbon economy, which is already worth over £46 billion."
In a related announcement the Department for Transport announced a further £64 million investment to promote the use of electric taxis. (See separate story.)
In a related international development, plans have been announced to replace Beijing’s 67,000 petrol powered taxis with electric vehicles (EVs), in an attempt to tackle the Chinese capital's crippling air pollution. Beijing’s nearly 70,000 petrol powered taxi fleet will gradually be replaced with EVs, and any new taxis on the road will be electric.
The electric transition is estimated to cost taxi operators around 9 billion yuan ($1.3 billion).
Reports suggest that the city will need to rapidly expand its EV charging infrastructure in order to accommodate the impending surge of EVs.
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